Bronx, NY – The New York Yankees had scored three-or-more runs in 39 consecutive games coming in, and that impressive stretch appeared in jeopardy Monday.
But that all changed with one mammoth swing of the bat.
Raul Ibanez smacked a go-ahead, no-doubt grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifting the New York Yankees to a 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game set.
On the day that Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak came to an end 71 years ago, Robinson Cano extended his career-high hitting streak to 19 games with two hits, an RBI and a run scored.
Russell Martin clubbed a solo homer for the Yankees, who have tallied 43 round-trippers over their past 22 contests. They've won seven of their last nine games.
David Robertson (1-3) picked up the win following a scoreless eighth and Rafael Soriano notched his 23rd save of the year after picking up the final two outs in the ninth.
Three-time All-Star Jose Bautista left the game in the eighth inning with an apparent left wrist injury. It occurred as he belted a long foul ball to left. He went down immediately and writhed in pain before being replaced by Ben Francisco.
"It's a big blow, there's no doubt," Toronto manager John Farrell said of the injury. "Until we have an idea of how long this will be, we won't know that until tomorrow."
With the game tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the eighth, Alex Rodriguez slapped a one-out single off Aaron Loup (0-1) to left and advanced to second on a passed ball. Cano reached on an infield single, prompting Toronto manager John Farrell to bring in Jason Frasor, who hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch to load the bases. Nick Swisher struck out looking to bring up Ibanez.
The quintessential offseason pickup who has filled in admirably for an injured Brett Gardner in left field, worked a 3-1 count before pulverizing a fastball on the inner half into the second deck in right, giving the Yankees a 6-2 advantage.
"We've always liked him as a hitter," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's come up with some huge hits for us."
J.P. Arencibia registered an RBI single in the ninth, but with runners on the corners with two outs, Colby Rasmus struck out looking to end the game.
Earlier, Martin's solo shot to right opened the scoring in the second inning and the Yanks tacked on another in the third when Rodriguez and Cano smacked back-to-back doubles, giving the home team a 2-0 edge.
The Jays got a run back in the fourth when Adam Lind belted a solo blast into the seats in right and tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth as Edwin Encarnacion drove a double off the base of the wall in left-center center, plating Bautista, who reached with a one-out walk.
With a 3-1 count this year, Ibanez is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with three homers and 12 RBI...Cano is batting .413 (31-for-75) with six long balls, six doubles and 20 RBI during his hitting streak, the longest by a Yankee since Derek Jeter hit safely in 19 straight games from May 5-27, 2007...Yankees starter Phil Hughes surrendered two runs on four hits and three walks in a seven-inning start for New York, while Henderson Alvarez lasted six frames and allowed two runs on five hits and four walks for Toronto...The Yankees have hit an MLB-leading six grand slams this year.